GD
Geodynamics
The Sassy Scientist

The Sassy Scientist

I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

The Sassy Scientist – Pluto Panic

The Sassy Scientist – Pluto Panic

Every week, The Sassy Scientist answers a question on geodynamics, related topics, academic life, the universe or anything in between with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Do you have a question for The Sassy Scientist? Submit your question here or leave a comment below.

After a distraught period (of more than a decade!) since the news first came out that Pluto was not considered a true planet anymore, and due to a post and comment/discussion on this very blog, Goofy finally found the courage to ask:


Do you think Pluto is a planet or a dwarf planet?


Dear Goofy,

Somethin’s wrong here! Definitely. I think Pluto is stellar in his own right, and I don’t think that the way you look at Pluto should change simply because some ‘authority’ dictates that you should change your opinion. That being said; does it matter that Pluto has been demoted to a dwarf planet status? There are a lot of great dwarfs: I know about seven who took in a beautiful lady lost in the forest and a couple who found a dragon in their pile of gold inside a mountain. Let’s take the rough with the smooth and don’t think of Pluto anymore as the last of the planets in our solar system, but rather as one of the main, and certainly the best known, dwarf planets.

Aw shucks. Pluto should have a special status. Beyond the possibility of planetary status, I’m with Laurent in that status should be imposed upon geological/geodynamical features. Why bother with all those heavenly bodies that are just swerving around? Focus on interesting features. Let’s bundle Pluto with Ceres, Titan, Europe and all those other moons, satellites, dwarf planets and create a new scale, taking one step beyond the “Geophysical Planet Definition” of Runyon et al. (2017): “Interesting Units”. So Earth, with all its tectonics and earthquakes and atmosphere scores 10 IUs. Venus, with active volcanism, tectonics and atmosphere scores 9 IUs. Mars, with signs of water presence, geology and relief, but no atmosphere, scores 8 IUs, whilst the gas giants score 7 IUs. Pluto, along with Titan and Ceres scores 5 IUs – our own, rather unimpressive, Moon only takes 3 IUs home. Not too shabby for Pluto I would say. To be fair, let’s award space rubble like Halley’s comet still 1 IU on account of possible, future space mining. For now, as a humble Earth scientist, I urge us to put our primary focus on the highly ranked space monsters, and leave the rest to the astrologers. Oops, astronomers. That’s right (in my mind all the same…).

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written after some distressing emails from miss. Goofy about her husbands depression due to Pluto’s demotion. I urged her to arrange some counseling.

References:
Runyon, K.D., Stern, S.A., Lauer, T.R., Grundy, W., Summers, M.E. and Singer, K.N. (2017), A Geophysical Planet Definition, Lunar and Planetary Science XLVIII, Abstract 1448

The Sassy Scientist – Science Sweethearts II

The Sassy Scientist – Science Sweethearts II

Every week, The Sassy Scientist answers a question on geodynamics, related topics, academic life, the universe or anything in between with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Do you have a question for The Sassy Scientist? Submit your question here.

Apollo and Artemis ask:


What is your opinion on workplace romances?


Following up on last week’s post, I’ll answer Apollo this time ‘round.

Dear Apollo,

There once was a guy called Apollo
Who worked on some spheres that were hollow
He felt very lonely;
Just thinking “If only”
“I meet someone in the years that will follow”

When you love your plates and the world’s oceans,
And determine their absolute motions
You may end up sad
Wearing mostly plaid
And you’ll end up missing some promotions

If you think that the core’s isotropic
She might seek a new research topic
You’ll have lots of fun
With the very near Sun
Other stars may prove too hypnotic

In love you may call me a novice
But I wouldn’t if you share an office
Things may turn sour
And you’ll have to cower
Well, at least you’ve tasted what love is.

Be careful if she’s still your student
I don’t think that this would be prudent
Such position of power
Means you’ll pay by the hour:
Your career will not have a good end.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS:

I hope you enjoyed every limerick
and now know how to woo a chick
Just give her a rose
Next post will be prose
all this talk about love makes me sick

The Sassy Scientist – Science Sweethearts I

The Sassy Scientist – Science Sweethearts I

Every week, The Sassy Scientist answers a question on geodynamics, related topics, academic life, the universe or anything in between with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Do you have a question for The Sassy Scientist? Submit your question here.

Apollo and Artemis ask:


What is your opinion on workplace romances?


This week’s question just gives me lots of inspiration. This question (in slightly different formulation) was sent to me twice, separately, by a guy and girl, so I’ll answer in two separate posts. To keep their private thoughts private I named them Artemis and Apollo, the Greek twin gods. I turned to my good friend the limerick to respond. Ladies first. Enjoy.

Dear Artemis,

There once was a girl called Artemis
Her choice of men was fairly remiss
Alone in the shower
Exempt of brainpower
She was pining for someone to kiss

When you’re into the fault interface
And foreseeing a lovely embrace
Just cease now with waiting
Stop differential equating
Go out and charm him with grace

With a focus on mantle convection
That he beholds with strong abjection
Switch subject soon
Go study the Moon
And he will partake with affection

When you’re still sat on the fence
You might feel it very intense
“I like working with him”
Don’t collapse on a whim
Love oftentimes doesn’t make sense

Don’t fall for your cute supervisor
Even though he’s your thought analyser
In several years
You’ll both be in tears
Now go out and find someone nicer

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS:
This post was written in style
Thinking of this took a while
Much to my liking
The rhyming is striking
I’ve got more on one massive pile

PS2: Can you think of a better limerick?

The Sassy Scientist – Managing Monsters

The Sassy Scientist – Managing Monsters

Every week, The Sassy Scientist answers a question on geodynamics, related topics, academic life, the universe or anything in between with a healthy dose of sarcasm. Do you have a question for The Sassy Scientist? Submit your question here.

Aminta asks:


How do you deal with bad co-authors (i.e. people who make writing papers more complicated and unpleasant than it needs to be) that are also senior scientists?


Dear Aminta,

Annoy them as much as possible. Relentlessly, but politely. Haunt their dreams. In case they are located within the same university, don’t just start emailing them willy-nilly. You can do so much more. Knock on their door every single day. Invite them for a coffee or join ‘em for lunch. Use casual conversations to fortuitously steer the topic towards your manuscript. Conveniently leave the office at the same time as your co-authors and come back in the morning when they do. Simply butter them up as much as possible, without presenting yourself too needy or a suck-up. It should be their idea to respond quicker to your requests. For those not in your institution, other rules apply. Try to set deadlines several weeks in advance of your actual goal, and up the ante in terms of email check-ins the days building up to their deadline.

Trust me. This is the only way that may turn out fruitful. I’ve tried to cross the only other path: patience. Just utter patience. Problem being that you cannot actually do that much. You’ll end up frustrated anyway. Tread carefully though; if your co-authors have some big toes and cannot be too bothered with your progress, the best way is to simply wait and see. A long wait may result in a finalized manuscript, while a short wait will result in tears. There are three grades of co-authors; 1) happies [quick responders with real constructive comments], 2) fickles [oftentimes tardy with the same comments on repeat], and 3) grumpies [no explanation needed]. Your job is to push every co-author into that first grade by smooching and appearing to be interested in whatever they’re up to. Preferably done before you start writing a manuscript. Remember that you do actually need them. Turn that frown upside down and start grinning like a Cheshire cat.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: This post was written with some sore cheek muscles.